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Thursday, 2 September 2010

About my Secret

Sorry about the delay. Stuff going on and so little time yadda yadda yadda.....

Anyway, last post I wrote about a secret location which I would share with you if you promised not to tell. Well, I'm going to hold you all to that promise. The secret location is the Isle of Arran, of the west coast of Scotland, tucked in between Ardrossan and the Kintyre peninsula-

This is a beautiful island. For me as a road cyclist, there are a handful of routes to explore, with the bonus of it being impossible to get lost. I say this because there are a very small number of roads that lead anywhere other than into small residential closes or to remote farms. There is the main island circuit road of around 57 miles and two other roads that bisect the island. These roads provide a number of options-

Each of these routes starts at the main town (big village) of Brodick.

The Island Loop- the full 57 mile loop.

The Northern Loop- Via Lochranza and then cutting across the island on The String Road from Blackwaterfoot on the west side of the Island.

The Southern Loop- Via Lamlash and Sliddery, again cutting across the island on The String Road.

The Northern Loop can be extended by cutting across the island from Sliddery to Lamlash via The Ross Road.

The Southern Loop can be shortened by using The Ross Road as opposed to The String.

Any one of these options can be interchanged to make longer r shorter routes (a figure 8 ride doing north and south and cutting across The String or The Ross?)

Each route can be ridden clockwise or anti clockwise, providing different challenges such as climbing steeper sides of the ascents.

I did two rides whilst I was there. The first was thew shortened Southern Loop, starting at Brodick, over The String to Blackwaterfoot and then back over The Ross to Lamlash-

To start with, The Ross goes up

and up

and up

but ends up providing stunning views back down towards Brodick

and onwards towards Blackwaterfoot

a pretty little village looking towards the Kintyre Peninsula and, on a clear day, the coast of Northern Ireland

I then headed south towards Sliddery along the coast road

(looking back toward Blackwaterfoot) before cutting back across the island via The Ross and through Glen Scorrodale

which eventually started going up

and then dropped down towards Lamlash

which is just a short boat ride from Holy Isle

It was then about half an hour back to Brodick where, after dinner, this was my view whilst doing the washing up

A 31 mile loop and lovely all the way.

Some of the road surfaces are a bit iffy, particularly on The Ross. The descent into Lamalsh is steep and fast but I wasn't confident about it's quality so took it a bit easy. A few laps and a bit of familiarity would soon see Yahoo Banshee Warrior descending though. One 'moment' was on this descent. I had walked across a couple of cattle grids because they were the large gap type but, as I reached the bottom of the last descent I saw another approaching- fast!. I grabbed big handfuls of brake and stopped with a couple of feet to spare. I bloke was just getting out of a van as I did this. He commented that it could have got interesting to which I agreed. He reassured me though that all would have been well. He was leading a Scout camp and there were several young folk dying to practice their first aid!

I will post about the second ride when I come back from my holiday.

See you all in a couple of weeks.

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